Windows 8 Tip: The Five Things You Need To Know For Your First Windows 8 Computer

Windows 8 - Windows key to return to Start screen

When you sit down at your first Windows 8 computer, you will be disoriented. Important controls are hidden, toolbars appear and disappear in ways that are unintuitive, and the Start button is missing from the desktop.

The learning curve is not steep! In fact, a Windows 7 user can be completely comfortable at a Windows 8 computer after learning only five things. […] continued

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Some Fine Print About Windows 8 Upgrades

Windows 8 Pro

Previously: Upgrading To Windows 8

For the next couple of months, the cost of a license to upgrade your existing computer to Windows 8 is almost nothing.

The real cost, though, is the time and effort involved, the possibility that the upgrade won’t go smoothly, and the risk that it will have unexpected side effects (like the loss of all your data if you make the wrong choice about how to upgrade). […] continued

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Upgrading To Windows 8

Windows 8 upgrade from Windows 7

Should you upgrade to Windows 8?

Funny you should ask. I’ve been hearing that a lot lately. Let’s see if we can figure out which question you’re really asking.

  — Does Windows 8 have enough exciting and interesting new features to be worth the effort to upgrade?

  –  Should you upgrade over your existing copy of Windows, or should an upgrade only be done by reformatting and installing from scratch – a “clean” install? […] continued

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Microsoft Responds To Office 365 Outage

Office 365

The engineering team at Microsoft responsible for Office 365 published a lengthy blog post about the outage on Tuesday. Microsoft is not always very transparent so it is refreshing to get an explanation and – more importantly – to get Promises To Do Better instead of defensiveness.

There is more in the blog post but here are the details about Tuesday’s outage:

“From 9:08AM to 2:10PM PST today, November 13th, some customers in North and South America were unable to access email services.  The service incident resulted from a combination of issues related to maintenance, network element failures, and increased load on the service.  This morning, the Office 365 team was performing planned non-impacting network maintenance by shifting some load out of the datacenters under maintenance.  In combination with this standard process, we experienced a ‘gray’ failure of some active network elements; the elements failed, but did not alert us to their failure.  Additionally, we have an increasing load of customers on-boarding to the service.  These three issues in combination caused customer access to email services to be degraded for an extended period of time.  By 10:42am PST, remediation work was underway to balance users to healthy sites, broaden the service access points and remediate the failed network devices.  At 2:10PM PST all services were fully restored.  Significant capacity increase has already been well underway, but we are also adding automated handling on these gray failures to speed recovery time.  Across the organization, we are executing a full review of our processes to proactively identify further actions needed to avoid these situations.”

Outages happen. […] continued

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Windows 8 Tip: Make Outlook The Default Program For Mail

Windows 8 - make Outlook the default program for mail

This tip is for Outlook users who want to use Outlook exclusively and bypass the Windows 8 Mail app on a desktop computer or notebook.


TIP

Open Default Programs and select Microsoft Outlook.

Click on: “Set this program as default – Use the selected program to open all file types and protocols it can open by default.”

Applies to: Outlook users on Windows 8


Windows 8 includes a simplified full-screen Mail app. […] continued

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Office 365 Mail Outage

Office 365 outage

Some Office 365 users are unable to access their mailbox this  morning, either in Outlook or in webmail.

Microsoft has acknowledged the problem but no details are yet available. There is a forum thread here where Microsoft promises to publish updates. There is a link for administrators in the left column of the Office 365 portal for “Service Health” which is frequently updated (but usually not very helpful). […] continued

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Windows 8 Tip: Set Internet Explorer To Open On The Desktop

windows8internetexplorertile

This tip is directed to people experiencing Windows 8 for the first time on a desktop or notebook computer who want to minimize confusion by spending most of their time on the familiar Windows 7-style desktop.


TIP

Windows 8 - Internet Explorer - open links on desktop

In Internet Explorer, click on Tools / Options / Programs.

Choose to open links: “Always in Internet Explorer on the desktop.”

Check the box: “Open Internet Explorer tiles on the desktop.”

Applies to: Windows 8 on desktop PCs and notebooks. […] continued

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Windows 8 Tip: Make Desktop The Default Tile On The Start Screen

windows8likewindows7startscreen

There is no shortage of guides for learning Windows 8 basics, starting with Microsoft’s guide to new features. Here’s an article that goes through the basics of the Charms bar, the Start Screen, switching apps and snapping them to the sidebar, printing from apps, and more.

Instead of writing a tutorial, I’ll be giving you a series of tips that aren’t as well known – settings that might make Windows 8 more comfortable and easier to adjust to. […] continued

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The Microsoft Surface Tablet And Productivity (Part 2)

Microsoft Surface and productivity

Previously: Some Thoughts On The Microsoft Surface Tablet (Part 1)

Because it is built on an operating system that appears identical to Windows 8, Microsoft’s Surface tablet has some features that set it apart from an iPad. This isn’t a full review of the Surface, just some of the reasons that my first impression is different than I expected. […] continued

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Some Thoughts On The Microsoft Surface Tablet (Part 1)

surfacewinrttouchkeyboard

I’ve been using a Microsoft Surface tablet for a few days. It is a fascinating device, with pros and cons that make it impossible to deliver any blanket assessment. Most of you should watch and wait as rough edges are smoothed out and developers release a better selection of apps – but not everyone. […] continued

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